This was shot for the Vimeo Video School. It is really basic basics for the total newbie. It keeps in nice and simple for the people who don’t know anything. For more in depth education check further tutorials on the education section of my website or get one of the excellent F-Stop Academy Training videos linked below!

Shooting Video with a DSLR from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.


Keys to getting the best looking footage while shooting.

You get the most control over your video when you shoot in Manual mode, usually indicated by the letter M on your top settings dial. The Manual setting gives you control over the aperture and shutter speed. Shooting this way takes a little bit of work, but it’s worth it, and after you experiment a bit, you’ll start to get a good feel for the settings!

ISO is a camera setting that changes how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor will be, which allows you to shoot better images in low light conditions. It’s a good idea to keep your ISO as low as possible for the best looking image. Sometimes, you’ll need to bump it up a bit if there isn’t a lot of light.

Good ISOs: 160, 320, 640, 1250, and 2500
Avoid using: 125, 250, 500, and 1000. These ISO settings create noise and make your footage look grainy.

White balance is the process of capturing the correct colors for the type of available light. Think of it as making sure the color white is always white, and doesn’t have blue or red tints. Many cameras come with an easily understandable white balance menu, as well as an auto white balance feature.

Use the presets for whatever condition you’re shooting in.

Depth of Field (DOF) refers to the part of your image that is in focus. A deep DOF will show nearly everything in the shot sharply in focus. If you have a shallow DOF, a narrow range with in your video image will be in focus. A shallow depth of field allows for greater emphasis to be placed on your main subject.

Using slow, and controlled movements while your camera is attached to a tripod will give you the best shots. A good technique to try when you pan from side to side is to hold your shot for about ten seconds, then start your slow pan, and then hold your shot another ten seconds before cutting. This gives you three different shots to work with when it comes time to edit!

For more advanced learning check out one of mine, Dan Chung’s or Drew Gardner’s training videos from F-Stop Academy


  1. Good of you to post these. DSLRs are fast becoming an everyman method of video shooting and camcorders never offered this level of manual control , so it’s good to have these kinds of references available to get everyone up to speed.

    I was the very surprised when I first found out about the sweet spots of native ISO levels. I think this video really drives the point home:

    Would these native levels differ by camera though? Certainly between camera brands, but within the Canon line itself?

  2. Dear Mr Bloom,

    What I don’t understand is why you are investing your talent, time and reputation in these posts with this certain “Andrea” ? It has been months since you own a Gh2 and you haven’t given us more than a clue what the real pros and cons of this camera are. We users want answers to questions like: does the Gh2 have a wheel that adjusts exposure/ aperture step-by-step ( like 7d, gh1, tm700 etc.) or smoothly. These things are imho the crucial factors we want to read about and expect you to share with us!

    Keep up the good work and best wishes,

    David de Jongh

    1. Are you being serious or joking? Making a series of basic DSLR tutorials with Vimeo for beginners? How is that wasting time?

      I have had a working GH2 for a month, since then i have done two reviews on my blog and my final thoughts on the which Video DSLR to buy section. All still cameras operate aperture in the same way.

      1. Well, Philip, I’m a beginner and I would like to thank you very much for all the beginner level tutorials and advices you have given us. It’s very important because when teaching yourself as I do one doesn’t know where to start because beforehand you don’t know the complexity of what you are dealing with. Basics in pedagogy is going from the easiest-simple to the hardest-complex, and thanks to the experts like you, who take the time to give us this kind of basic tutorials guys like me can start shooting DSLR without the worry of breaking something and wasting tons of time on figuring out basic things. So thanks and I also enjoy your more advanced reviews/videos/tutorials.

        PS: I loved the music and you are a comedian in your heart LOL

        Thank you

  3. This is a fantastic resource. Thanks for this.
    I find video confusing at times.
    I’m an old hand with stills cameras, and music software, but video is another language.
    Loving it!

  4. Hello Philip!

    First off – your tutorials are great. Period.

    In this video you´re saying that the best ISOs to use are 160 and the multiplications of it.
    Now what I really would like to know is, whether it depends on the tv standart (pal / ntsc) you´re shooting with, or not?

    I´m shooting PAL, by the way 😉

    Thank you

  5. Hi, I’ve just bought a Ti3 Rebel (600D) for video shooting two weeks ago. Awesome experience so far.
    I’ve got a serious doubt, though.

    They say when shooting 24p you should be using 1/50 shutter speed to acquire the 180º motion blur softness. On the other hand you always push the aperture to the maximum of the lens you are using, that being 3.5 in my case. So if all these values are kind of fixed in the first place the only thing you have to deal with is the ISO to match the correct exposure.
    Is this correct or am I missing something?

    1. you have the aperture to what you want Martin not the most open all the time. The key is using ND on the lens to keep the ISO nice and low, Shutter at 1/50th and the aperture to what you want it to be. Check out the Genus Fader ND.

  6. Fantastic, please keep up this unbelievable work! We all appreciate it very, very much!

    Btw, Keep Andrea in your videos, I love the fact that she’s never serious!

  7. I’ve been a cameraman for fifteen years and I am buying a 5DmkII. Just letting you know I am finding these little starter tutorials very useful. In this one the ISOs to use.

  8. Very interesting to read about the best ISO-levels. I filmed a concert and it wasn’t that much light there. I put the ISO-level to 2000, and the result was ok but some noise of course. Could I have less noise if I had put the ISO level to 2500 instead?

    Is 2500 a better ISO level then 2000?

Leave a Reply